Monday, February 20, 2017

The Nots, No Tides, Headwinds - Beauty Bar, Sunday Jan 19, 2017

I was lucky enough to play with the Nots at Gonerfest with the Gizmos back in Oct of 2014 and was pretty damn knocked out by their set of energetic post punk/no wave/punk rock sound, so when I heard that they were coming to Vegas, I had to come out for them. Luckily, although it was a Sunday night, Monday's a holiday, so a fairly good crowd also ventured into the night!

Opening the eve was Headwinds, a group that I was unfamiliar with that I assume was a new-ish combo, due to their lack of stage presence and seeming insecurity. They had a minimalist sound - maybe similar to LA's 100 Flowers, and would occasionally sing in Spanish and the guitarist would use some interesting chord phrasing.



Next up was No Tides, a more appealing (to me) combo, using reverbed guitars in a spaghetti western kinda way, with a little Ska here, a little Cure there, a bit a doo-wop (at least to my ears), and a hint of the Dead Kennedys. Cool guitar licks, fast riffing numbers, and a good variety to their tunes. Certainly a band to watch.



Memphis' Nots are a groovy bunch of gals, "led" by Natalie on guitar and lead vocals, aided and abetted by Charlotte, Alexandra and Meredith on synth, bass and drums (sorry - not sure who was who - the FB page and the CD's don't tell me). As I said, it's an energetic no-wave-y kinda sound, with reverbed/echo-y guitar, cool synth/keyboard licks (really loved this addition to the group) and strong bass and drums. I heard a bit of Siouxie, a bit of L7, a cover of the Normal's "TV OD", and a lot of their own uniqueness. Lots of power'n'potency, catchy noise, and rockin' presence.










Thanks to the Beauty Bar for bringing these swingin' chicks to town and thanks to the Nots for making Vegas a stop of their tour! Nice to see something cool'n'different'n'fun!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Franks and Deans, Easter and the Swamp Gospel at the Beauty Bar, Friday Feb 17, 2017

The Swamp Gospel opened this early show on a rainy Friday night at the Beauty Bar to a fairly small though enthusiastic crowd looking to absolve their sins - past and future! If anyone got any pix of us, we would love to see them.

Next up was a reunion show of LA's Easter. I was not familiar with the combo, but they had a cool pop-punk sound with plenty of harmonies, some 70's rock tinges and even a bit of the Dead Boys here and there. They received a good response from everyone, as well.



But the night really belonged to Franks'n'Deans, with their pop-punk take on the Rat Pack. They really seemed to be particularly on this eve, rockin' the tunes with their tight musicianship and extraordinary vocal harmonies. Tunes like "Hello Mary Lou" and "Save the Last Dance For Me' took on a new life and they sped up "You Rascal You" to super-sonic speed, gave a hot reading of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" (a fave of mine that I was always interested in covering), did a sak version of "Chain Gang" as well as "Luck Be a Lady" (with hints of the Specials "Ghost Town" - part of the fun of their set is trying to pick out all of the punk shows they are referencing), "Dream Lover", "That's Life" and, of course, the perennial sing-along "Minnie The Moocher".

The lovely Nickole Muse provides a fine additional visual treat to the show as she engages the audience while showing off her burlesque skills. The crowd had grown considerably for their set and everyone dug the sights and the sounds!











Thanks to Pulsar and the Beauty Bar (shout out to soundman Danny for great audio throughout the night!) for a fun-filled Friday night! They have some terrific gigs coming up so keep a look out for this venue!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Say No To the Devil - The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis - Ian Zack

I discovered the Rev Gary Davis a number of years ago and have been picking up what I can from the man when I find things and finally got this biography on him for Xmas (thanks Melanie!). While he has never become the household name that blues guitarists like Robert Johnson have - partially due to his insistence on mostly playing religious songs - his skill on the guitar is extraordinary and he is revered among those in the know.

Plenty of familiar names appear here regularly:  folk singers such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Harry Chapin, Dave Van Ronk, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and more, as well as rockers like Jorma and Jack Cassidy of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna and more, along with bluesmen Blind Boy Fuller, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry and many others that Davis played with and rubbed shoulders with and taught as he lived in New York City during the town's folk/blues boom. Lots of his students became ardent promoters, locally and farther, of the man's talents as they either became more well-known than the master. Davis' career parallels the 60's Folk revival - which, of course, helped Davis - and groups like Peter Paul and Mary covered his songs, which changed his life financially and dramatically.

Due to this help from colleagues, fans and students, he was able to begin a career as a touring musician - starting when he was in his 60's! Throughout his life he would continue to preach in small, local Baptists churches, but he was able to finally stop busking on the street. As with many religious men, he had his share of temptations, from women on the road (when his wife was left at home) to alcohol - which he would imbibe in to excess and which would eventually hurt his live reputation

Towards the end of the 60's, the folk revival began to fade with the emergence of folk rock, acid rock, hard rock and other genres and the Reverend's live bookings began to diminish. But, the Rev did record more albums, playing multiple instruments, and an anthology of his earlier work also was released, which helped to spread his word and helped financially. Of course, other covers of his tunes - or his arrangements - by artists, from Hot Tuna to the Rolling Stones (Davis got partial songwriting credit for "You Got to Move", even though it was an older traditional number and the Stones took their version from Mississippi Fred McDowell), gave him money to prosper, as well.

Eventually, age mixed with the toll of life on the road for a man of his age, caused his health to deteriorate and he eventually passed away from a heart attack in the early 70's, while he was in his early 70's. His wife, Anna, lived a much longer life - she died at 102! - and while her finances suffered after his demise, she was able to remain reasonably comfortable in her later years.

Ian Zack is a compelling writer and keeps the story moving throughout, giving a full picture of this religious man who wrestled with his fair share of demons, but was, by all accounts, a kind and giving man who loved his music and his students. A fine read!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

recommended gigs


Thursday Feb 16 - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown at the Hard Rock

Friday Feb 17 - The Swamp Gospel with Franks'n'Deans and Easter at the Beauty Bar

Friday Feb 17 - 10th Annual Broken Hearts Show at the Bunkhouse
Friday Feb 17 - Mustard Plug and the Phenomenauts with Alan Six at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 17 - the Psyatics and the Electric Ferrets at the Double Down

Saturday Feb 18 - 3d6, Geezus Cyrst and Free Beer, Stagnetti's Cock, Sector 7-G at the Double Down
Friday Feb 18 - The Unwieldies, People's Whiskey, Danger Cakes at the Beauty Bar

Sunday Feb 19 - the Nots (Memphis all female band - friends of the Gizmos!) at the Beauty Bar

Wednesday Feb 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 23 - Benefit for NOW at the Bunkhouse, featuring the Swank Bastards, DomiNIki and lots more
Thursday Feb 23 - Gold Top Bob at the Sand Dollar

Wednesday Mar 1 - Melanie and the Midnite Marauders with Shanda and the Howlers at the Double Down sittin' in for Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast

Friday Mar 3 - the Darts at the Bunkhouse with the Electric Children, the Acid Sisters and the Astaires

Saturday Mar 4 - Water Landing record release show at 11th Street Records with the Price of Dirt and the Unwieldies
Saturday Mar 4 - Bitters, DC3, Strange Mistress at the Double Down

Friday Mar 10 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 11 - Durango 66 at the Double Down

Tuesday Mar 14 - Big Sandy and the Fly Right Boys, Wayne Hancock and the Rhyolite Sound at the Dive Bar

Friday Mar 17 - Thee Swank Bastards with Franks'n'Deans at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 18 - The Swamp Gospel and the Psyatics at the Huntridge Tavern

Friday Mar 24 - Spotted Dick and the Wylde Knights with Half Ast at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 25 - the Coathangers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Mar 25 - Fear and the Unholy Sounds of Damnation at the Dive Bar
Saturday Mar 25 - Thee Swank Bastards daytime show in Boulder City
Saturday Mar 25 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Golden Tiki

Monday Mar 27 - Peelander z, the Time Crashers, Illicitor, Easter Teeth at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 1 - Bogtrotter's Union with the Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Thursday April 6 - Zeke with Nashville Pussy at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Thursday April 6 - the Psyatics with Scutches, Jerk at the Double Down

Friday April 7 - Bob Log III at the Beauty Bar

Sunday April 9 - the Damned at the House of Blues
Sunday April 9 - the Big Lazy and the Sin Eaters at the Bunkhouse

Monday April 10 - the Nobodys, Jerk!, Badger, the Pluralses at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 15 - Agent Orange with the Psyatics, Civilians and Sheiks of Shake at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 22 - Durango 66 at the Golden Tiki
Saturday April 22 - Assorted Jellybeans and the Maxies at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Wednesday April 26 - Tacacat, Negative Nancys and the Van der Rohe at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 29 - The Swamp Gospel and the return of the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Adam Ant with the Glam Skanks at the Brooklyn Bowl, Friday Feb 10, 2017

Hard to believe that it has been 4-1/2 years (Sept 2012) since the last time we saw Adam at the Hard Rock on the Strip, but that was such a good show that we made it a point to check him out again this time out. Even though Adam's long-time guitarist/band leader passed away just a couple of weeks ago, Adam continued on and still put on a terrific show.

Opening the night was the all-femme Glam Skanks - a 70's-styled glitter rock band that bordered on parody, with songs like their spelling theme song, "Teenage Drag Queen", "Whatever Happened to Tube Tops", "Fuck Off" (not the Wayne County song, but probably influenced by it) and a cool cover of Shocking Blue's "Send Me a Postcard". It was all a bit contrived, but they looked good, played well - no virtuosos, but quite solid - the singer was quite good and they were entertaining.





Adam then came out with a relatively stripped-down band - guitar, bass and two drummers (I think the group was the same as in 2012 other than the guitarist) with no female backing singer this time and performed Kings of the Wild Frontier in its entirety, to the delight of the crowd, who were all singing along all night long. The guitar was super heavy and hard-edged, the bass solid and, of course, the drummers kept the wild rhythms all night long. Adam joined in on guitar here'n'there throughout the night, looked amazing, and thrilled the jam-packed club.

After Kings, the group went through a variety of songs, from "Xerox Machine" through "Prince Charming" and Goody Two Shoes" and tons more obscure and well known numbers. Adam got the audience to singalong with the first encore, then gave us a rockin' take on "Bang a Gong" and then got super heavy for the finale, "Physical (You're So)".



(The proliferation of cell phones was amazing!)



I didn't fight the crowds to get close enough for better photos - sorry! - but did think that this was a decent place to see touring bands. Not too big, decent sight-lines throughout, good sound overall and several bars (drinks being medium-expensive). This was the first time I saw a band here, but hopefully they will bring in some more cool touring groups.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

recommended gigs


Thursday Feb 9 - Gold Top Bob at the Sand Dollar
Thursday Feb 9 - TV Party Tonight at the Double with the Decline of Western Civilization (movie) and the Pluralses (live)

Friday Feb 10 - Adam Ant at the Brooklyn Bowl
Friday Feb 10 - Turbo's birthday at the Double Down with Durango 66 and Stormtroopers of Dirk

Saturday Feb 11 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Sunday Feb 12 - Sham 69, Civilians, Gallows Bound, Creepshow and the Psyatics at the Dive Bar

Tues Feb 14 - Zach Ryan's Valentine's Sock Hop featuring members of Shanda and the Howlers, the Million Dollar Quartet, the Acid Sisters and the Clydesdale

Wednesday Feb 15 - Gold Top Bob at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 16 - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown at the Hard Rock

Friday Feb 17 - The Swamp Gospel with Franks'n'Deans and Easter at the Beauty Bar

Friday Feb 17 - 10th Annual Broken Hearts Show at the Bunkhouse
Friday Feb 17 - Mustard Plug and the Phenomenauts with Alan Six at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 17 - the Psyatics and the Electric Ferrets at the Double Down

Saturday Feb 18 - 3d6, Geezus Cyrst and Free Beer, Stagnetti's Cock, Sector 7-G at the Double Down
Friday Feb 18 - The Unwieldies, People's Whiskey, Danger Cakes at the Beauty Bar

Sunday Feb 19 - the Nots (Memphis all female band - friends of the Gizmos!) at the Beauty Bar

Wednesday Feb 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 23 - Benefit for NOW at the Bunkhouse, featuring the Swank Bastards and lots more
Thursday Feb 23 - Gold Top Bob at the Sand Dollar

Wednesday Mar 1 - Melanie and the Midnite Marauders with Shanda and the Howlers at the Double Down sittin' in for Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast

Friday Mar 3 - the Darts at the Bunkhouse with Weird Omen, the Electric Children and the Acid Sisters

Saturday Mar 4 - Water Landing record release show at 11th Street Records with the Price of Dirt and the Unwieldies
Saturday Mar 4 - Bitters, DC3, Strange Mistress at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 11 - Durango 66 at the Double Down

Tuesday Mar 14 - Big Sandy and the Fly Right Boys, Wayne Hancock and the Rhyolite Sound at the Dive Bar

Friday Mar 17 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 18 - The Swamp Gospel and the Psyatics at the Huntridge Tavern

Saturday Mar 25 - the Coathangers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Mar 25 - Fear and the Unholy Sounds of Damnation at the Dive Bar
Saturday Mar 25 - Thee Swank Bastards daytime show in Boulder City
Saturday Mar 25 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Golden Tiki

Monday Mar 27 - Peelander z, the Time Crashers, Illicitor, Easter Teeth at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 6 - Zeke with Nashville Pussy at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Friday April 7 - Bob Log III at the Beauty Bar

Sunday April 9 - the Damned at the House of Blues
Sunday April 9 - the Big Lazy and the Sin Eaters at the Bunkhouse

Monday April 10 - the Nobodys, Jerk!, Badger, the Pluralses at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 22 - Durango 66 at the Golden Tiki

Saturday April 29 - The Swamp Gospel and the return of the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

The Punknecks, the Sin Eaters, Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, El Maldonado at the Dive Bar, Wednesday Feb 8, 2017

I've been wanting to catch the Punknecks every time they've come through town, but circumstances did not allow until now. Since Melanie and the Midnite Marauders were added to the bill, that got us out on a week night to break up the work drudgery and inject a bit of mid-week fun.


Opening up the eve was El Maldonado, a former folk/rocker (I saw him in some incarnation previously here at the Dive Bar) now doing banjo-driven gypsy folk punk songs sung mainly in Russian (I believe)! Certainly unique to this town, not what you would expect from a banjo-carrying youngster in this day of bluegrass revival and his upbeat tunes got a great response from the early crowd!


Melanie and the Midnite Marauders went on next and, obviously, I could not take any pix of ourselves, but we had a good time serenading the folks with our brand of high-energy honky-tonk!







(thanks to Wade Braggs for the MMM pix!)

Then we got the debut of the Sin Eaters, which is basically one of my fave local bands, the Lucky Cheats, but with stand-up bassist Chris Davis replacing electric bassist Luke. The dynamics have naturally changed as Luke used to split the lead vocal duties with harp-master Jeffrey, but Jeffrey is more than capable on his own and guitar whiz Wade takes over now'n'again, as well. They're putting their own spin on blues classics like "Skinny Woman", "King Bee", - now a super-heavy, Jeff Beck Group-ish tour de force - "Catfish Blues" and more. There was at least one original, that borrowed a bit from Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You", and the band specializes in dynamics and excellent musicianship. They closed with a stompin' "Rollin'n'Tumblin'" with Wade on his old lap steel guitar. Great debut for this line-up and I'm looking forward to seeing what they morph into!









Polly and Jason Punkneck couldn't have been sweeter people - friendly and complimentary to all of the other bands - and they gave their all to the sparse, late night, Wednesday crowd. Self described as Americana/punk/country, the duo performs in various incarnations, though this time out Jason was on acoustic guitar and vocals, Polly on drums and vocals and they brought along electric lead/steel guitarist CB. Unfortunately, CB dominated the sound a bit too much, drowning out the acoustic rather than interacting with it, which kind of took away a bit of the song structure. But, I dug their style and their vocals and I hope that they'll return soon for another stab at conquering Vegas!





As always, thanks to the Dive Bar, Nate, Angie, John and the bartenders for another fun night of music'n'drinkin'!